(Clay Williams – Jackson Parish Journal) Jonesboro-Hodge Tiger Football is officially back, and Head Coach Terrance Blankenship’s team started off the season in a big way with a 40-30 season opening win over General Trass!
After last week’s 22-0 loss to St. Frederick’s in the Bayou Jamb, the Tigers were ready to leave August in the past and turn the page to September. The Tiger faithful were in for a good one during week one.
J-Hodge welcomed the visitors from Lake Providence into Caldwell-Peacock Stadium on Friday night with revenge on their mind after last year’s 48-14 loss in the opener of a season ago. The Panthers kicked off to start the contest, and after a quick 3-and-out by the Tigers led to a General Trass touchdown less than three minutes into the game, it felt like de ja vu.
Then suddenly, it all changed.
Quarterback Symeon Malone and the Tigers offense responded with a long 70-yard drive, that consisted of a great mixture of runs from senior running back Chance Leonard, who missed last week’s jamboree, and quick passes from Malone. The Tigers found the end zone on a Malone keeper from 4 yards out, and the game was knotted up at 6 at the end of the first quarter.
“I was very pleased with the way we handled the adversity at the start and the way our quarterback matured during the game,” said Blankenship who improved to 6-5 in season openers during his 11 year tenure.
Early in the second quarter, J-H found themselves driving with the ball again, and this time Malone got his first passing touchdown of the season, when he connected with junior wideout Christian McGuire on a rollout for a 34-yard touchdown. McGuire, who would go on to finish the game with 5 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown, caught the ensuing two-point try to give J-H a 14-6 lead.
General Trass and quarterback Ahmoniee Williams quickly answered the J-H touchdown by getting into the end zone on their second QB keeper of the night, and the successful two-point conversion made it a 14-14 ballgame midway through the 2nd quarter.
JHHS immediately responded. Junior wideout Za’Mauryian Palmer sprinted past the General Trass secondary, and Malone hit him deep for an 80-yard TD pass. The longest play of the night for either team and Malone’s second strike in as many possessions, gave the Tigers a 22-14 advantage with under five minutes to go in the half. The Panthers responded with a score to tie the score at 22-22 after an electrifying and entertaining first half.
“We knew that Trass could score as they have a lot of talent but they also showed that they could be thrown on,” said Blankenship. “I felt if we could pass the ball effectively we would have a good chance and we did.”
Malone was not only effective but very impressive with the way he handled the Tiger offense as he connected on 13 of 15 passes for 247 yards and two scores.
“Quarterback was a position that was a question mark for us coming in,” reflected Blankenship. “Tonight it was an exclamation point.”
Second half of play began similarly to the first half, but this time it was General Trass with the 3-and-out, quickly followed by Chance Leonard bulldozing his way into the end zone for six points. That would be the only score of the 3rd quarter, and J-Hodge would take a 28-22 lead into the final twelve minutes of the ballgame.
To get things started in the fourth quarter, General Trass turned to their 6’4, 210 lb. power back Kameron Williams who fought through Tiger defenders to tie the game up with 11:07 to play. The successful two-point conversion on a QB keeper left J-H facing their first deficit since early in the 1st quarter.
The Tigers, like they had all night long, methodically drove down the field with great runs by Leonard, consistent offensive line play, and clutch 3rd down decision making by Malone. With eight minutes to go, Malone scored on his second four-yard QB keeper of the night, to give J-H the 34-30 lead, one that the Tigers would not give back.
JHHS salted the game away when Da’Marious Burns recovered an errant deep snap to set up the Tigers deep in General Trass territory on the Panthers ensuing possession. Leonard, who finished the night with 91 yards on 22 carries, put the Tigers up 40-30 with his second score of the contest with seven minutes left. An interception by Dakota Knox at the goal line thwarted a last gasp effort by General Trass and put the final nail in the coffin. The Tiger defense held the Panthers scoreless over the final 11 minutes of the game while recording three sacks and causing a pair of turnovers in the fourth quarter alone.
Also to be mentioned was the tremendous play of the offensive and defensive line led by Braylon Leonard, Quirese Howard, Kyron Atkins, Ken’Wuan Atkins, Eric Hudson and Noah Lucas, who dominated the Panther front line all night.
Jonesboro-Hodge will be on the road this Friday, September 8th at A.R. “Red” Sims Stadium against Class 5A, West Ouachita. Game time is set for 7:00 pm.
|General Trass (0-1)||6||16||0||8||30|
JHHS Rushing: Chance Leonard (22-91, 2TD, 2-2PT), Symeon Malone (10-37, 2TD, 2-2PT), Lontrevious Burns (2-9)
JHHS Passing: Symeon Malone (15-24-292, 2TD, 2 PT Pass, INT)
JHHS Receiving: Christian McGuire (5-111, TD, 2PT), Za’Mauryian Palmer (2-85, TD), Damarious Burns (5-67), Chance Leonard (3-29)
|3rd Down Conversions||6/10||5/12|
|4th Down Conversions||3/5||3/4|
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